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COVID-19: Our guide to creating a ‘Return To Work’ action plan

COVID-19: Our guide to creating a ‘Return To Work’ action plan

With lockdown beginning to ease, many employers are now need to begin planning for what is likely to be a staged return to the workplace. 

If you’re among them, we’ve published a full guide to creating your ‘Return To Work’ action plan. No time to read the guide yet? We've prepared a summary of the key areas it covers:

1. Examining the risks 

  • Before you decide to reopen, it is vital you conduct a thorough risk assessment – when the government allows businesses to reopen, that doesn’t necessarily mean COVID-19 is no longer a threat to your operations. Some businesses may have greater COVID-19 exposures than others, underscoring the importance of performing a risk assessment before reopening.
  • Prior to conducting a risk assessment, it’s important to review guidance from the UK government.

2. Preparing for reopening

Before you reopen your business, you’ll need to carefully consider how you can do so safely. 

  • Firstly, making changes to your workplace environment will be critical. In order to prevent the spread of the virus, you’ll likely need to make physical modifications to your workspace. These will largely be based on social distancing protocols, which will be specific to your industry. Along with altering the geography of your workplace, you must clean and disinfect it thoroughly. 
  • Secondly, consider changing your guidance and rules for staff. For safety, your business will need to change protocols for in-person interactions and physical contact. As a part of this, changes to employee scheduling may need to be made. If your business uses commercial vehicles for operations, it is vital to enforce social distancing, cleaning and hygiene practices while operating them.

3. Implementing employee screening, exposure and confirmed illness procedures.

  • Consider conducting screenings to identify potentially ill staff members before they enter your workspace. You should notify employees of this to avoid surprises. Employees who test positive or believe they have been infected should be instructed to follow the advice of a medical professional and self-quarantine. Staff who are symptomatic or who have tested positive should not return to work until official government conditions are satisfied. 

4. Establishing a pandemic response team

  • A pandemic response team is a cross-functional unit that recommends and oversees workplace protocols to control the spread of COVID-19. The team will ensure that employees receive clear communications and proper, actionable instructions. The scope and design of your team will vary depending on your specific business, but you should at least appoint a team leader, a communications lead, a protocol lead, and a sanitation lead. 

5. Creating employee safety training materials

The success of your return to work plan depends largely upon how well your employees follow your health and safety guidance. 

You should, therefore, prepare materials and disseminate them widely throughout all levels of your organisation. These should cover the following topics: social distancing, use of PPE. personal hygiene, workspace cleaning responsibilities, and any industry-specific considerations. 

Get detailed guidance on each of these five steps - read our full guide to creating your ‘Return To Work’ action plan here: 

Get our return to work action plan guideClick here to download
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